/* The Divi child theme test */ Planning Commission Meeting Minutes March 2005 | Town of Washington Grove
301-926-2256 washgrove@comcast.net


2 March 2005 | Approved: 6 April 2005

Chairman John McClelland called the meeting to order at 7:35 p.m. In attendance were Commissioners Darrell Anderson, Peggy Ebner, Bob Evans and alternate Jim Leng. Also in attendance were town residents Charlie Challstrom, Kathi Higdon and Bruce Rothrock.

Approval of Minutes

The minutes for February were approved.

Building Permits

The following building permits were discussed and voted on by the Planning Commission:

  • 103 Brown Street » Architect Ralph Hurst presented revised drawings for the addition to 103 Brown Street. The drawings include enclosed stairs on the garage that are accessible from inside as well as outside the garage and indications of the height of the structure at each of the four corners. The drawing does not include an enclosed breezeway as was requested by the Commissioners at the September 2004 Planning Commission meeting when the drawings were first presented. The Commissioners feel that the open breezeway does not allow access to the garage and second story living area from inside the house and therefore cannot be considered part of the main dwelling. Charlie Challstrom pointed out that the ordinances state that there has to be a common wall or common roof for a structure to be considered part of the main dwelling. The Commissioners agreed that that the lower roof on the breezeway does not share a common roof to the main structure. Kathi Higdon asked what the Planning Commission’s "vision" for the breezeway would be. She stated that an enclosed breezeway would block off the back yard and would look "stupid" and cause heating, cooling and mold issues. Chairman McClelland stated that the Planning Commission is not empowered to comment on the appearance/architectural elements nor potential maintenance difficulties. Commissioner Anderson said that there would have to be direct access to the garage/living area from the main structure without going outside.

    Commissioner Evans moved for a denial of the permit because it does not meet the Town Ordinance’s definition of a single dwelling unit. The motion was approved unanimously. Without a complete breezeway enclosure (common wall) or the presence of a "common roof" the addition/garage would be treated as an accessory building and subject to those ordinance requirements.

  • 107 Grove Avenue House » renovation was approved unanimously pending HPC review.
  • 204 Ridge Road » Fence approved unanimously.
  • 124 Chestnut » Shed relocation approved unanimously.

Propane Tanks

The Commissioners discussed propane tanks and decided that they should be treated as structures and be bound by appropriate setbacks whether they are above or below ground.

Report from Town Council

Darrell Anderson reported that Town Attorney Bill Roberts has notified the Council that there should be a review of Town Ordinances regarding fees and fines. There may need to be a change to reflect the Town Charter or to add a Municipal Infractions Process.

Commissioner Anderson also stated that the Council has advised the Planning Commission to write an ordinance to add a Code Enforcement Officer.

Commissioner Anderson reported that the Council discussed the appropriate way to enforce ordinances. The Council feels that there should be less enforcement of ordinance violations that do not cause problems regarding safety or obvious disputes among neighbors (for example, the 103 Grove Avenue fence, which was moved four (4) feet inside the south property line vs. the required ten (10) feet, is now “acceptable” to the Council.) They believe there must be some leeway in addressing minor versus major violations. The Commissioners agreed that this would cause major inconsistencies, would be unfair to those that abide by the Town Ordinances and would lead to potential lawsuits. They also stated that if they were not to be applied fairly and consistently, the Ordinances should be eliminated altogether.

Commissioner Anderson also reported that the Council would like to have a definition of a fence in the ordinances. Chairman McClelland agreed to provide one.

Missy Yachup – Secretary

The meeting was adjourned at 9:05 p.m.

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